Scent of a Whirlpool

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Whirlpool Corp. is teaming with Procter & Gamble Co. in a test of Presiva Personal Valet, an appliance the size of a 5-foot bookcase that freshens, removes wrinkles from and restores shape to garments in about 30 minutes.

Whirlpool makes the appliance, which comes in several styles to fit varying room decors and is currently being concept-tested in homes around the country. P&G provides the heat-activated freshening formula used in the machine, which the company is selling direct to consumers via

Whirlpool bills Presiva as a device that saves time and reduces effort by sprucing up outfits, including garments with beads and sequins. The system "dramatically reduces ironing" and "gives you that put together look every day, without the morning hassle," Whirlpool says in promotional material.

Specially designed hangers and weight clips help eliminate wrinkles and freshen garments as they're "infused" with scented mist. Whirlpool wouldn't comment on pricing for the appliance, shown along with other concept units at last month's National Association of Home Builders Show. The liquid Presiva formula sold by P&G sells for $11.99 a bottle and comes in two varieties, "Crisp" and "Soft," to accommodate different clothing styles.

Publicis Groupe's Publicis in New York is agency of record for Whirlpool products. P&G has not assigned an agency for its part of the effort.

P&G archrival Unilever also appears to have interest in the concept. Unilever has registered trademarks for such brands as Vaporesse, Enfuse and Enfuser. A Unilever spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.

A P&G spokeswoman compared the company's involvement to its development of other products for new or developmental home appliances, such as Tide HE laundry detergent, launched in 1995 at a time few homes had high-efficiency washers.

P&G has worked particularly closely with Whirlpool in recent years, including co-op advertising in which Whirlpool has endorsed the Tide brand and a new Whirlpool dryer sold in Best Buy stores last year carried a branded setting for P&G's Dryel home dry cleaning brand.

The Presiva test comes as P&G admits Dryel isn't doing well. Speaking at the Merrill Lynch consumer products conference last week, P&G Chief Financial Officer Clayton Daley acknowledged Dryel isn't meeting expectations, the first such acknowledgment from a P&G executive.

Several retailers echo the view, saying they're looking at reducing shelf space and product counts for Dryel and other brands in the category, including Clorox FreshCare and Dial Corp.'s Custom Cleaner.

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